A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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IPCC spin translated – the leaked Synopsis admits 97% of models fail

Joint Post: Geoff Sherrington and JoNova

The IPCC Synthesis Report first order draft has been leaked (h/t Tallbloke) . It is part of the big Fifth Assessment report see the parts already released here. The Synthesis Report supposedly summarizes the science. In the real world the topic du jour is the plateau, pause, or hiatus in warming which the IPCC can no longer ignore. Instead the masters of keyword phrases test new bounds in saying things that are technically correct, while not stating the bleeding obvious. Luckily we are here to help them. : -)

Translating IPCC-spin:

“The rate of warming of the observed global-mean surface temperature has been smaller over the past 15 years (1998-2012) than over the past 30 to 60 years (Figure SYR.1a; Box SYR.1) and is estimated to be around one-third to one-half of the trend over the period 1951–2012. Nevertheless, the decade of the 2000s has been the warmest in the instrumental record (Figure SYR.1a).”

Translated: Yes temperatures are not rising faster as we predicted, even though more CO2 was pumped out faster than ever. Let’s ignore that this shows the models were wrong, the important thing is to […]

IPCC says abrupt irreversible clathrate methane, ice sheet collapse are unlikely.

For years we’ve been warned via the media that there was a risk of irreversible global catastrophe. Is the IPCC stepping back from those forecasts too? The words abrupt, irreversible, and tipping point didn’t make it into the Headline Points in 2013.

Reader Katabasis at Bishop Hill reports on the Royal Society meeting where abrupt and irreversible changes were discussed. Katabasis notes that in the IPCC Chapter 12 Table 12.4 many of the catastrophic changes being forecast are described as “unlikely” or “very unlikely” or even “exceptionally unlikely”. The only one now considered “likely” is that the Arctic might be ice free 40 years from now (which is a big step back from “ice free by 2013” as some commentators predicted). Moreover confidence is low.

Will IPCC authors now correct Gore, Flannery, or other commentators when they tell us that CO2 emissions will probably lead to abrupt or irreversible ice sheet collapse, or collapses of the monsoonal circulation or Atlantic currents. Note the IPCC is saying “low confidence” for long term megadroughts, and monsoon changes, which means, “we don’t know” rather than “unlikely”. But why spend billions to prevent something you have low confidence will happen?

Table 12.4: Components […]

Kill the IPCC says Judith Curry. After decades and billions there is nothing to show for it.

And the public conversation finally starts to move on to discussing not whether the IPCC is wrong, but why it was wrong, and what we need to do about it. Credit to Judith Curry and the Financial Post. I’ve posted a few paragraphs here. The whole story is in the link at the top. – Jo

Judith A. Curry, Special to Financial Post

Kill the IPCC: After decades and billions spent, the climate body still fails to prove humans behind warming

The IPCC is in a state of permanent paradigm paralysis. It is the problem, not the solution

The IPCC has given us a diagnosis of a planetary fever and a prescription for planet Earth. In this article, I provide a diagnosis and prescription for the IPCC: paradigm paralysis, caused by motivated reasoning, oversimplification, and consensus seeking; worsened and made permanent by a vicious positive feedback effect at the climate science-policy interface.

In its latest report released Friday, after several decades and expenditures in the bazillions, the IPCC still has not provided a convincing argument for how much warming in the 20th century has been caused by humans.

We tried a simple solution […]

IPCC in denial. “Just-so” excuses use ocean heat to hide their failure.

In answer to the excuse du jour: “The Ocean ate my Global Warming”.

Now that the plateau in air temperatures has lasted for 15 years, everyone, even IPCC lead authors, can see the “90% certain” models were 98% wrong. So the IPCC now claims the heat went into the deep abyss, which they didn’t predict, can’t measure accurately, and, even by the best estimates we have, has not been anywhere near large enough to explain the missing energy.

They predicted the surface air temperature would increase, but it didn’t. (The 1990 IPCC predictions about temperatures were so wrong the trends have come in below their lowest possible estimate.) They predicted the oceans would warm more than twice as much as they actually have (as best as we can tell). They did not predict the air temperature would level out for 15 years, and the oceans would suddenly start producing “natural cooling”.

The oceans are a bit of a mystery black box

There are 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of ocean out there — it’s so big it hid a 650 km volcano until two weeks ago. Only two people have been to the bottom ever (correction, three men), and they […]

More media pressure finally forcing the IPCC to cut the spin

The race in the media continues: The UK Daily Mail (again), The Spectator, The UK Express. The headlines the IPCC must hate just keep coming, now in major newspapers and magazines. Finally, maybe, some of the media is starting to get it. At last also the IPCC is feeling the pressure to explain the halting of global warming and the poor performance of its climate models.

This is all well and good, but before we celebrate, ponder that if science journalists had been doing their job 10 years ago, the IPCC would have been put on the spot before before the wild evangelistic doom-fest of 2007 where national GDP points were roasted with every chapter. Billions could have been saved.

As I keep saying: The media is the problem. With good journalists, and real reporters, everything else gets better. Shine the light…

The UK Daily Mail Tamara Cohen

World’s top climate scientists told to ‘cover up’ the fact that the Earth’s temperature hasn’t risen for the last 15 years

But leaked documents seen by the Associated Press, yesterday revealed deep concerns among politicians about a lack of global warming over the past few years.

Germany called for the references […]

PR Wars: IPCC fights for relevance, halves warming, claims to be 95% certain of something vaguer

We are over the peak. Years late, the IPCC concedes some territory and wears headlines they must hate (“Global warming is just HALF what we said“, “We got it wrong on warming“), but PR still rules, and in the big game, this will quickly spin to a minor bump. It’s a classic technique to release “the bad news” before the main report, to clear the air for the messages the agents want to stick.

Since 2007 they’ve burned through their credibility in so many ways: think Climategate, and getting caught pretending activist material was science, being busted for 300-year-typos like the Himalayan Glaciers, plus 15 years of no warming, no hot spot, models being wrong, droughts ending, and ice returning, all the while pouring scorn and derision on anyone who questioned them. The IPCC were being hammered and they had to change tacks. Now, for the first time, the IPCC is making a serious retreat, presumably in the hope of being able to still paint itself as “scientific” and to fight from a different trench. Anything to continue the yearly junkets and to save face. What they hope is that no one will notice that the deniers were right […]

A Handy-Dandy Carbon Tax Temperature-Savings Calculator

Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger have created a calculator of exactly how many degrees of global warming will be averted if the IPCC is right. I can’t think why the IPCC didn’t do this before. For example, if all industrialized nations achieve a 100% reduction (that is, stop using coal, oil, gas, diesel, and avgas tomorrow*), then 87 years from now the world will be 0.352C cooler (assuming climate sensitivity is a high 4.5C and the models work, and nothing else changes in the atmosphere). The great thing is you can adjust the parameters yourself to see how many ways Global Action does not add up.

Calculator from (Click to go to the calculator)

Unfortunately it does not also project the costs. Version II perhaps?

*Please forgive me for that sweeping assumption. We all know that to get a true 100% reduction in CO2 emissions we’d need to do a lot more. Like building nuclear plants from handmade mud-bricks using solar powered trucks and wind-powered cranes. And no more flights to anywhere unless you have a pedal powered hang-glider or one of those marvelous solar planes that takes 2 months to cross the US.


Ocean temperatures – Is that warming statistically significant?

The oceans as measured by ARGO are warming, but that warming is not only far less than the models predicted, it is far less even than the instrument error.

The background of a crucial point

Everyone agrees: 90% of the energy in the Earth’s climate system is stored in the oceans. Rocks and sand don’t transmit the heat down, except at incredibly slow rates. The wil-o’-the-wisp-atmosphere hardly holds any energy. But water covers 70% of the surface, to an average depth of 3,700m, and it can store septillions of joules.

Climate models say the Earth’s energy balance is out of whack, and therefore 90% of the extra energy trapped by increasing greenhouse gases is stored in the ocean. The oceans are warming (probably), but the extra energy found in the top 700m of the world’s oceans is not enough. The modelers argued the heat was hidden below, that from 700m-2,000m. Skeptics argue the missing energy was flung out to space. This is the big enchilada, and as far as measuring oceans goes, everything changed in 2003 when we finally got the ARGO system, and that’s why it’s worth a closer look now.

David points […]

IPCC plays hot-spot hidey games in AR5 — denies 28 million weather balloons work properly

The classic hot spot prediction (A) compared to 28 million weatherballoons (B). Click to enlarge. You won’t see this in the new report.

It was a major PR failure in 2007. The IPCC won’t make the same mistake again. They’ve dumped the hot-spot graphs.

In AR4 they put in two graphs that show how badly their models really do. In the next report they plan to bury the spectacular missing-hot-spot images through “graph-trickery” and selective blindness. Each round of IPCC reports takes the spin-factor up another notch. It’s carefully crafted.

See the draft of AR5: Chapter 9: Evaluation of Climate Models

It’s hot-spot hidey games and PR tricks

In the new extra-tricky AR5 version, the IPCC “quote the critics” and ignore them at the same time. That way they can say they include the McIntyre’s, McKitrick’s, Douglass’, and Christy’s: the words are on the page, but that doesn’t mean the information is used in the conclusions. The models have failed and they bury that undeniable result under the clutter. (You’ll need to read the fine print). There is no acknowledgement that this issue of the “hot spot” drives more amplification of predicted warming in their models than any […]

Unpaid students to review AR5. This is rigorous expert science right?

The Risk Monger (David Zaruk) was astonished to receive an advertisement from the Dutch government looking for 60 young PhD students to help with the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

They salary is “none”. But they are not just looking for any old student. You don’t need experience, but to qualify you need “an affinity with climate change”. I guess they are not looking for skeptical students who feel an affinity with logic, reason, and empirical evidence?

The reasons for asking the unpaid students is actually described as an “ambitious plan” to do a “thorough review” because there were “errors in the fourth assessment report…”. O.K.

The Risk Monger:

Maybe I am jumping to conclusions, but with all of the mess of the last IPCC Assessment Report (including a non-scientific WWF campaign document predicting the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers getting through the review process and becoming one of the IPCC’s main conclusions), shouldn’t they try to do a more rigorous review process this time around? Students, working for free, are not perhaps the ideal choice of reviewers needed to challenge the experts

What troubles the Risk-Monger more here is that many environmental activists are working on their […]